Does renters insurance cover property damage

(Property damage happens — are you covered?)

Table of Contents

Does renters insurance cover property damage?
Does renters insurance cover personal property damage?
Does renters insurance cover personal property damage even if I'm not at home?
How much personal property damage coverage do I get if I'm not at home?

Does renters insurance cover property damage?

I'm shopping around for a renters insurance policy for the first time, and I'm curious what the policies will provide by way of property damage. 

I see a lot about personal property coverage, but not a lot about property coverage generally. That being said, I'm curious about all of the potential property damage coverage. Can you discuss what's protected and what isn't?

This is a great question, especially because renters insurance is very specific about what's covered and what's not. It's important to know how you're covered so that you aren't expecting protection where you may not have any. This is even more important to understand before there's a potential claim. 

Generally speaking, renters insurance provides two types of coverage: (1) personal property, and (2) liability. Liability coverage is coverage that kicks in if you're found liable for injuries or property damage to another person. 

Liability coverage would be effective in a situation where you or even a child accidentally causes property damage to another. A common example is that your child throws a ball that breaks a window or dents a garage door. The property owner would file a claim under your policy and the property damage would be covered. 

However, while renters insurance covers this kind of property damage through your liability coverage, it generally won't cover either intentional or negligent property damage to your unit. It will cover your personal property, but the unit itself is covered under your landlord's insurance policy, not renters insurance.

If you have additional questions about how the property damage coverage works, your independent insurance agent can help.

Does renters insurance cover personal property damage?

Yes, your personal property damage is covered by your renters insurance policy. In contrast with real property damage, which is covered by the liability portion of your renters insurance policy, your renters insurance policy is designed to protect your personal property. 

Contrast this with a landlord policy which covers damage to the unit itself. Your renters insurance is not designed to provide that sort of coverage. 

Most renters insurance policies come standard with a personal property liability limit of $25,000, too. And, even if your personal property is damaged or destroyed due to a covered loss outside of your primary residence, your renters insurance will often pay out 10% of the policy limit to cover that loss, too. 

In this scenario, that would mean that you receive $2,500 for personal property damaged or destroyed by a named peril outside of your primary residence.

Because you could have significantly more or less property to cover than other individuals, it's important you discuss coverage options and policy limits with your independent insurance agent. 

They'll help you sort through the types of coverage and coverage limits you should consider to make sure you're safe in case an accident occurs.

Does renters insurance cover personal property damage even if I'm not at home?

As I briefly mentioned above, yes. As long as your personal property is lost or destroyed due to a named peril, you're covered. Remember, a named peril isn't just losing property. 

It's typically property damage or destruction due to theft, certain weather-related damage, or fire. A named peril must occur for you to be covered by your renters insurance. 

Luckily, renters insurance applies to personal property kept in a storage unit and personal property that's with you whether you're traveling or commuting to work. 

That being said, the coverage limits that I mentioned above are still in play. That means if you're not at home when the property is lost or stolen, you won't recover up to your full policy limit, but you'll still recover something. 


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How much personal property damage coverage do I get if I'm not at home?

Every policy differs, but a general rule of thumb is that you'll receive 10% of your personal property coverage if you aren't at home when the named peril causes the property damage or destruction. If you have a $30,000 limit, this would be $3,000 of coverage. 

You need to consider how much property you have and how much you'd have to pay to replace it before you settle on a policy limit. Typically, it's best to make a list of what you have and what it would cost to get covered. 

You can work with your independent insurance agent on this to ensure you get the coverage you need.

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